State Guardsmen to help provide Olympics security

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

A contingency of 100 area National Guardsmen will be among 400 Guardsmen from Missouri who will help provide security for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The troops will leave Jan. 24 to join approximately 17,000 Guardsmen who will be part of the security force for the Feb. 8-24 games. The Guardsmen will be in Salt Lake City through Feb. 27.

The local troops are part of Company B of the 1140th Combat Engineers Battalion of Perryville and Jackson.

Sgt. 1st Class Brad Craft, a full-time Guardsmen with the 1140th, said the battalion was notified Wednesday and spent the weekend getting ready. "We're thrilled to be involved in this," he said.

The troops will continue training the weekend of Jan. 12-13 and wind up final exercises at Salt Lake City Jan. 26-28.

Other Missouri units joining the deployment are 200 from Kansas City and 100 from Lexington.

"These numbers could change," said Lt. Tammy Spicer, public affairs officer for the Missouri National Guard. "A week ago we were walking about 100 troops overall. That number has grown to 400."

Company B of the 1140th is stationed at Perryville and has a detachment at Jackson, Craft said. Every soldier on the deployment list volunteered for the active-duty assignment, he said.

"Some of these men are working; others are attending the university," Craft said. "Arrangements are being made for students to make up their work, and every employer has been supportive. We appreciate everything. It's a big act of patriotism."

Troops from this area will fly to Salt Lake City from Whitman Air Force Base.

About 12,000 of the Guardsmen making up the security force are from Utah.

Security has been an ever bigger concern for the Olympics since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

During the 1972 Munich summer games, 11 Israeli athletes died in an attack by terrorists. During the 1996 summer games in Atlanta, a pipe bomb exploded in Olympic Park, killing one person. That crime remains unsolved.

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